The U.S. Navy’s stay-away warning to marine traffic in the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman was intended for Iran, Pentagon officials confirmed on Thursday. The maritime message, posted this week by the Navy via the Maritime Safety Office run by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, alerted all international maritime traffic to maintain a safe distance of at least 100 meters from U.S. naval vessels in international waters and straits.
“We have stated very clearly to individuals in the area to be careful and avoid our ships in the area,” Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, said during a Thursday media briefing. “We’ve seen Iran violate that in an alarming and unprofessional way recently.”
A month ago, nearly a dozen Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy vessels harassed a formation of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships operating in international waters in the northern Persian Gulf. During the incident, the Iranian vessels came within yards of the U.S. ships, the Navy reported.
Last June, U.S. Central Command released video footage of an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy fast attack craft coming alongside the Japanese-owned petrochemical tanker M/V Kokuka Courageous and removing what CENTCOM said was a limpet mine. Speaking Thursday, Hoffman said there was no immediate threat that caused the Navy to issue the warning. READ MORE HERE